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Kalna, West Bengal

Kalna Shiva temples - Authentic India Tours

Located on the western bank of the Hooghly River, Kalna is a fascinating city in West Bengal which oozes history. Also known as Ambika Kalna after the popular Goddess Kali, Maa Ambika, this is a destination scattered with historical monuments such as the Rajbari (the palace) and the iconic 108 Shiva temples. Kalna is famous for its intricate terracotta temples built during the late 18th century by the Maharajas of Bardhaman.

108 Shiva Temples (Nava Kailash)

The awe-inspiring 108 Shiv Mandirs is a breathtaking work of art. Built in 1809 to create an optical illusion of infinity, these Hindu temples are constructed of two perfectly concentric circles that form an eternal ring with no beginning or end.

The first circle has 74 temples with white marble and black stone shivlingas (circular stones) and the second has 34 temples with shivlingas of white marble. Thanks to some ingenious architectural planning, all shivlingas can be seen from the centre of the temple complex.

Festivals in Kalna

Kalna is home to a variety of festivals, including Saraswati Puja attracting visitors from all part of the state, where large decorated pandals (structures used at events) illuminated with artistic idols pay homage to Goddess Saraswati.

The Mahishmardini Puja lasts for 4 days and is surrounded by a fair with merry-go-rounds, a toy train, and puppet and magic shows.

Beautiful textiles 

After the partition of India in 1947, many skilled weavers from Dhaka settled in West Bengal in the Bardhaman district Kalna, renowned for its hand-woven fabrics. These craftspeople revived their ancestral occupation with support from the government and produced finely woven feather-touch textiles and saris in exotic designs and colours still seen today. Kalna has its own weaving style and is famous for its jamdani, a fine muslin textile, and gorgeous Tangail sarees.

How to discover Kalna with Authentic India Tours

You can visit Kalna on our Historic Hooghly with Assam Bengal Navigation or Bengal Memories With Assam Bengal Navigation tours or as part of your own bespoke Indian holiday. Contact our travel experts on 01792 315499 or email info@aitholidays.com